Paris: Chez Louis, 1801. Five volumes (4 volumes 8vo. text & oblong 4to. atlas). lvi, 494, ; [iv], 617, ; [iv], 588, ; [iv], 592,  pp. Atlas: [viii], 10,  pp. plus 86 leaves of plates. FIRST EDITION. Complete with all errata and half titles present. Woodcut printer’s device on each title. Text volumes bound in contemporary quarter calf and marbled boards, with vellum corners, gilt spine with morocco labels, hinges slightly tender with the exception of volume 2 which has been rebacked; interiors exceptionally clean, some pages unopened. Approbation leaf in volume 1 signed “Louie” in a contemporary hand. The atlas is bound in original thick paper boards, faded, with minor but expertly administered repairs; untrimmed, very occasional light foxing, otherwise an extremely well preserved and clean copy. From the library of Arnold Thackray with his bookplate in each volume. Tucked into one of the volumes is a letter intended for a “Monsieur Cloez,” written on the letterhead of the École Imperiale Polytechnique and dated 1859. The recipient was probably the French chemist François Stanislas Cloez (1817-1883), founder of the Chemical Society of France and an important player in the development of analytical chemistry in the nineteenth century. The inclusion of this letter may indicate the set’s provenance, though there are no other markings to substantiate it. Item #14805
First edition of the author’s first major work, “the author’s most important work, containing his discovery of the geometrical law of crystallisation, known by his name, and of piezo-electriciy” (Zeitlinger). The first volume of text presents Haüy’s crystal theory, followed by its application on mineral classification in the ensuing three volumes. “The basic idea of his theory is that the primitive form of crystals of a certain species results as a nucleus from the cleavage of all their secondary forms. If mechanical division proves to be impossible, there are other phenomena - particularly striation- that reveal the nucleus” (DSB). The atlas, often lacking from the set, visually demonstrates Haüy’s groundbreaking work on the molecular structure of crystals in an elegant arrangement of 86 plates showing hundreds of geometric figures. The painstaking work presented here prompted the Secretary of the Académie des Sciences at the time to credit him with raising mineralogy to a science as precise and methodological as astronomy (DBG). An extremely attractive and well preserved example of this important work.
Haüy (1743-1822), considered the founder of crystallography, is chiefly remembered for his contributions to mineralogy. He wrote several works on physics, one of which, the Traité de physique, earned him an appointment to the Legion of Honor. During the Revolution he was thrown into prison for refusing to take the oaths required of priests, but was saved by the intercession of Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire. Under Napolean he became professor of mineralogy at the Musée d'Histoire Naturelle.